Following the winter that never was of 2011/2012 came one of the hottest and driest summers on record in the Ozarks. Of course the autumn would be some sort of disappointment, right? Boy was I pleasantly surprised! Sarah and I have taken an October vacation, exploring the Ozarks, looking for color for about four years straight. Even if our trip coincided with “peak color”, more often than not that peak wasn’t necessarily anything to jump up and down about. Well, this year was nearly everything I dreamed an Ozark autumn should be.
Every tree tried on it’s best outfit a couple of weeks ago. The black gum and dogwood were draped in their dark warm shades of reds and violet. The maples were a schism of warm tones – sometimes on separate trees, sometimes with contrasting leaves on the same tree, and often with a mix on the same individual leaf! My personal autumn favorite, the grand sycamore was gloriously showcased in yellows, burnt umber and mild reds that set off so nicely it’s bright, ivory bark. Hickories, normally easily forgotten as the dull yellow leaves drop so quickly, were an incandescent display of quintessential amber. Even the usually boring – white oak wasn’t going into its winter nap without a show, bringing out a variety of mild warm tones before dropping brown to become part of next year’s forest floor. As usual, the small sumac and sassafras brought their best to stop you in your tracks.
This was darn-near too much! Driving hundreds of miles and putting tens of miles on the trails I wanted to stop every five minutes and find a composition. There was the problem. Everywhere I looked was a potential composition, but actually putting something together was often a tremendous difficulty! I now truly understand the concept of chaos in the biological world. There were periods of frustration as I realized I wasn’t going to be able fulfill my desire to nail all the potential autumn shots that I dreamed about. As I begin delving into and processing the several hundred images I took that magical week, I can only hope I nailed a few images. Over the next several weeks I hope to post a lot images here with some info or story behind it. Hopefully not all of the photos will be the typical cliche’. Geez, are there any autumn photos that aren’t?